The community volunteers spent an afternoon with the children at a local centre located on the beach...
Entries in #school (6)
We started teaching at one of the local primary schools a few weeks ago after their long summer holidays. It’s great to be back in the classroom, but it also seems the perfect time to reflect on a busy but productive summer teaching in slightly less traditional surroundings.
Preparing 750 examination papers, 250 each for 3 different academic levels. In the UK, this would sound like a morning’s work. Even here, it sounds likes a surmountable challenge. And surmountable it was, but akin to climbing Mount Everest it was too. This is how it went:
On arrival at the rather isolated out-of-town area of Hell-Ville that houses the Sainte-Marie orphanage, at first it is difficult to believe that this is really the correct location...
Despite the somewhat chaotic journey consisting of a cancelled flight due to strikes and a rather quick, but nevertheless cramped 20 hour taxi journey from Antananarivo, I eventually arrived in Hellville in high spirits some 4 weeks ago.
It seems almost surreal to think back to my first days here as so much has changed. Not only have I met some incredible people from all walks of life, I have also been lucky enough to experience so many different things, which have all added not only to my overall time here, but so much to me personally as well.
I spent the first few weeks of the project teaching in the local primary school which was a thoroughly rewarding experience. At first teaching 60 kids in a classroom equipped with only a blackboard and chalk seemed daunting, but their enthusiasm and energy quickly quashed any doubts that I had. Although the school holidays were swiftly approaching and their minds may have been wandering, they remained focused and I can safely say that the majority aced their tests on weather, food and clothes!
The following week I ventured to the camp, which much to my delight was far better than I ever imagined. Its rugged simplicity coupled with the great communal atmosphere provides a welcome escape from normal life, replacing it with conservation, diving and in my case lemurs! Tasked with building lemur boxes for the foresters to use in lemur surveys, we managed to construct a number of successful boxes, without too many hiccups except a few splinters and moments of miscommunication with the infamous camp legend that is Edmund.
This week, having returned and (slowly but surely!) recovered from the weekend's antics in the otherwise tranquil paradise that is camp, we eagerly began summer school at the primary school. Although the attendance at our first few lessons was not quite as good as we had expected, we are looking forward to a big influx of students next week. Youth club has consistently been the highlight of my week, not only teaching the guys but also building great friendships with them. The in depth discussions that we have constantly challenge both us as teachers and them as students, their progress over my few weeks here has been substantial.
On a final note, as is the case with all adventures that we choose to undertake, we expect to come across numerous unplanned situations such as the chaotic journey that I had at the start of my trip. The cramped and uncomfortably long journey in an old minibus would seem like a nightmare, but it actually provided me with a rare opportunity to see the diverse landscape of Madagascar and a glimpse into the culture and way of life of the Malagasy people. One of the many lasting effects that the community adventure with Frontier will have on me is to never expect anything to go smoothly and that a little chaos should be embraced as it ultimately helps us to adapt and mould into better, more worldly people.
By Dan Garvie - Community and Teaching Volunteer
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